Not all empowered consumers are created digital

One of the very basic premises for social media marketing (or social media/digital marketing for business), is the idea of the empowered consumer. Different people use different terms, but at the very essence is the idea that the modern consumer is more in control than ever of their own consumer experience. They use a variety of platforms to find information, to share content, and to create their own. They are prosumers. Future man. They can make or destroy a brand with just the click of a mouse.

This idea is true for many of us. Mostly for those of us who like to call ourselves digital natives or social media experts. WE are the prosumers, and we know, understand, use, and take advantage of this idea, for personal as well as professional purposes.

If your customer is the millenial or the digital native or the social media expert, you better damn well know your hashtags, lingo, and be creating valuable, interesting content. Pulling instead of pushing. [insert buzzword of your choosing].

But for many of us, our customers are just regular people. People who don’t know about hashtags. If they do know, they certainly don’t know how to use them to create any sort of value. And as opposed to what many people think, not all regular people are adept at being online. I know many people who still think social media is useless for business.

The are wrong, of course (social media is the future, doh!), but if we are supposed to be putting the customer first, then their experience and worldview should truly come first, in a digital sense as well as in real-life.

For many marketers, I think we sometimes get lost in between “what is possible” and “what is possible and desirable for our stakeholders”

One of my main challenges – on a  professional and personal level – is to take the abstract, interesting ideas of social media marketing, and adapt it to a level that my colleagues and customers will appreciate. This can be difficult, because I have found that the stakeholder group my business tends to cater to – the one that I like to call “my father’s” (Male, 45-65, working professional, probably tennis or golf player) can have very, very different social technographic profiles. While some of them are better at being online than I am, others barely know how to use the office package.

In addition, while organizations should be paying attention to customers, digital or analog, we must not forget that we, as organization/business, should still be social, still be learning and interacting. If for nothing else, than in preparation for the generational shift that is bound to be right around the corner.

And just for kicks and giggles, here is a recent real-life example: For a recent campaign, I had been thinking of ideas for how to promote an upcoming event, trying to incorporate and combine modern techniques with traditional methods. All of this in close collaboration with an older, more experienced colleague (in the “my father” demographic) One of the more traditional methods for this specific event includes sending invitations to selected leads. What did we end up doing? Inviting by newsletter and e-mail to most people. But we also ended up handpicking selected leads to receive snail mail invitations. Because my colleague knew that these people do not use e-mail.

I am fairly sure I would have never, ever, have thought to do that. 

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